NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - It came down to the very last match, but for the 8th straight season, the New Providence boys’ tennis program is heading to Mercer County Park in West Windsor to battle for a group title after capturing their 8th sectional title, dating back to 2010.
In a rematch of last year’s sectional title match, Glen Ridge was looking to avenge their loss and breakthrough for a title, but to no avail as the Pioneers persevered at the Murray Hill Tennis Center in New Providence Tuesday morning.
The set of doubles for New Providence got the #1 seed off to a phenomenal start, as the first doubles pair of Brian Kelly and Zach Niedich defeated Glen Ridges first doubles team 6-0, 6-1 in dominating fashion.
Second doubles for New Providence also cruised as well, as Eric Schneider and Ethan Niedich shut out their opponent, winning 6-0, 6-0.
Singles proved to be much more tense, and despite New Providence only needing one more match win, it took an unexpected way to do so.
At first singles, Chris Kang, despite trailing 5-2 in the first set, was able to storm back to take a 6-5 lead, but ended up falling in a tiebreaker 7-4 to lose the first set.
That loss proved to be draining for Kang as he went down 6-0 in the second set, giving Glen Ridge their first point.
At second singles, Cristiano Hocken was in a battle all morning against his foe, as he and his opponent went back and forth for north of two hours.
After splitting the first two sets, Hocken ended up running out of gas late, as he was defeated, losing 2-6, 6-4, 1-6.
It all came down to Johnny Souren, who just like Hocken, dropped his first set but came back to win the second, as everything came down to the final set.
After Souren lost the first game of the decider, his opponent, Ethan Che used a medical time out as he was suffering from cramps.
The cramps didn’t seem to slow down Che, as he led 4-2 in the final set, but a lob by Souren over the head of Che sent him to the floor and he couldn’t continue, giving Souren the victory by default, 3-6, 6-3, 2-4.
An attempt at the Pioneers first group title since 2014 will be made Wednesday when the Pioneers first take on Highland Park, with the winner facing the winner of Mountain Lakes and Haddonfield.